Hello! Welcome to my blog, “Left Brain Skills for Right Brained People”
As many of you know, I’m a Career & Life Coach for artists and other creative people. I’m based in the San Francisco Bay Area but work with artists throughout the U. S. and all over the world.
This is the second installment of my blog, where we’re reviewing a checklist of 10 behaviors that make a difference in an artist’s career. It gives you a way to think about what you’re doing (and not doing) right now.
Checklist for a Successful Art Career (26 KB)
Let’s take a look at the second question: “I ask others for advice about my career.”
Why would you want to do this? It is because almost everything that happens in your career happens through other people. When you get recommended for a grant or residency, nominated for an award, or invited to participate in an exhibition, it is usually through people you know.
Asking for advice is a way to get connected. I recommend that you ask for advice rather than help. Just think about the difference. How do people act when you ask for help? They look at the clock, check their phone, and protest: “I don’t have time.” “I don’t know anybody.” “I don’t know anything.”
Busy people, even those who care about you, don’t really want to add your agenda to their to-do list. Funny enough though, everyone enjoys giving advice about what YOU should be doing. And sometimes that advice morphs into the help you need.
When you are asking for advice about your art career or business, don’t write letters to Oprah. Start with the people you know or can easily reach. Find someone who is a few steps ahead of you on your chosen path. The person’s art should be different from your own, so that you’re not in direct competition. Choose people who are generous in spirit, or at a point in their own careers when they are ready and able to give back.
Prepare your listener ahead of time. Tell them you are seeking advice about your career. Send your resume, or a list of your goals, a link to your website. Be specific about what you want to know. Always ask, what should I do? Who should I contact? What’s the best way for me to reach them? Keep the responsibility for follow-up actions in your own hands.
So, who do you want to ask for advice?
Please send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) to let me know what’s on your mind. Next time I’ll be talking about question #3 on the checklist, how to overcome rejection quickly.
Mary Edwards, Ph.D.
Career & Life Coach for Artists